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Just as robotics developers and vendors need to understand their respective markets, so too do executives at end-user organizations need to know where to start with automation. What are the primary concerns of chief robotics officers and other business managers with regard to adopting robotics, artificial intelligence, and unmanned systems?

In this webcast, we chat with Gary Beach, publisher emeritus of CIO Magazine, to describe the top-level concerns for those leading automation initiatives.

Gary Beach discusses what business managers need to know about automation

Gary Beach has years of experience with business management and emerging technologies.

In addition to being publisher of Network World, Computerworld, and CIO Magazine for 27 years, Beach wrote The U.S. Technology Skills Gap: A 100-Year Review of Science and Math Education in America (John Wiley and Sons, 2013). He currently writes a column on talent, skills, and workforce development for The Wall Street Journal‘s “CIO Journal.”

Beach starts by establishing a framework for automation. What do buzzwords like “cognitive systems” really mean, and what can previous industrial revolutions tell us about Industry 4.0?

We also touch on how global automation is changing as China moves from being a major consumer of robots to a producer.

Automation and the C suite

Knowing your customers and being aware of automation’s relevance to every industry are key to competitive success, according to Beach. He also shares examples of forward-thinking business managers¬†who have invested in robotics to solve different problems.

Automation isn’t just about efficiency; it also needs to be tailored to your business model and unique value proposition. Robotics and AI are high on Gartner’s “hype cycle,” but your industry or applications may be at different points on it.

We also discuss the technical and communications skills that the chief information officer or the chief robotics officer needs to have. The comprehension of staffers and fellow executives is key to successful robotics use.

“Selling” robots is an ongoing process, Beach explains, and CROs and other execs must know exactly why they’re adopting new technology.

Business managers must confront workforce worries

This webcast also looks at different approaches for implementing robotics, including using integrators or in-house talent. In addition, the so-called skills gap is fueling demand for automation.

Beach confronts head-on widespread worries that robots and jobs are a zero-sum game. According to research firm Gartner Inc., AI and robotics will generate 2.3 million jobs by 2020, compared with the 1.8 million jobs that automation will replace.

He also explains that, as automation transforms the economy, business managers and individuals will have to take on responsibility for constant retraining. “Build a plan that’s scalable, measurable, has empathy,” he says.

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